Our social calendar is filling up. We’ve gone to some dinner parties, had a couple of dinner parties, and just the other day, we were invited over for donuts! Or maybe not.
Having kids instantly fills up the social calendar whether you like it or not. The little ones want play dates, the big ones want to go to the movies, shopping, or sun tanning with their friends.
The other day I got a call from someone. I answered the phone with trepidation like always, worried that the caller would be French, speaking French, and speaking it really fast. I can handle most phone calls these days, but if I get one of those damn fast-talkers, all bets are off. It’s very frustrating. And when I say ‘very frustrating’, I really mean it’s ‘really fucking frustrating’.
This was one of those calls. All I heard was “Bonjour. Sebeasa. Moijessasesgaehoiesef. Fandsdssodif?”
I knew my first move had to be to find out who this person was, because I’ve already been tricked into painful telephone calls by the local phone company trying to talk me into new services and so on. After 3 minutes of back and forth I then realize it’s a sales call and get all pissed off. You tortured me for this? I torture them back a little by switching to English and fast-talking those bastards. They get all nervous and end the call quick, which is [insert singsong voice] Awwwwwesooooome!
Me: “Qui est-ce?” [Who is this?]
Person on the phone: “C’est eeselslwieah” [This is ??]
Me: “Qui est-ce?”
Person on the phone: “C’est seflaewaoisgsag”
Me: “QUI EST-CE???”
Person on the phone: “C’est EEZ-A-BELLE!”
Me: “Oh shit, hi Isa!” [mother of my little one's best friend from school]
Then, before I could stop her freight train of French, she went on to say something like this:
Isabelle: “beaaeewbis sabbeseslit beignet ggajeae après-midi?”
My interpretation of what she said: “Blah, blah, something about a donut? This afternoon?” [a beignet is a sugared donut with something in the middle like cream or chocolate]
Me: Quand? [when] – (I’m stalling for time here, letting my super computer brain try and do some delayed translating)
And on and on it went. We decided Sunday is the best day to go over and have a donut. I think she was as relieved as I was to get off that phone.
After I thought about it for a while though, I started questioning my French. I mean, who invites someone over for a donut? Is that a French thing? I’ve never heard of it. None of my other French friends have said, “Now that we’re such good friends, you should come over for a donut.” I drink wine with these people, and surely donut dates must come before wine dates.
My mind replayed the events. What else could she have been saying? I know she and her husband talked about inviting us over. I know they recently moved to a rental house in Junas that has a…
Wait minute! She doesn’t want us to come over for a donut! She wants us to come over for “se baigner” —- to go bathe ourselves?? NO, WAIT —– not bathe ourselves…. TO GO SWIMMING! Yes, that must be it.
I probably would have gotten this sooner if she had used the stupid verb I learned for swimming “nager” which sounds like “nah-szchay”, but no. She has to use that fancy reflexive verb French that does what French always does which is NOT follow an exact translation of English but DOES take English that makes a little bit of sense and then make it sound funny. “Hey everyone, let’s go bathe ourselves in the pool! And after that, we’ll have some donuts!”
So I think I’m correct. I’m going to put on a bathing suit under my clothes and have towels in my bag. If she brings me to the pool and gets in, I’ll take my clothes off and join her.
But just to be on the safe side, I’m bringing some beignets with me too. I wouldn’t want to screw up what could be a really delicious French custom.